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Stop the $5,000 NSW housing grant for foreign investors, Labor demands

The number of first home buyers in NSW has gone into total freefall following the O’Farrell Liberal Government’s decision to slash assistance from first home buyers and give $5000 to foreign investors, Opposition Leader John Robertson said today.

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released today, just 13,023 first home buyers received loan finance approval during the 2013 calendar year.

This represents the lowest recorded annual figure for first home buyers in more than two decades.

It is a massive drop-off from the 22,350 first home buyers who received approval in 2012 and the 30,422 first home buyers who received it in 2011.

Today’s disastrous figures follow revelations last week that the O’Farrell Liberals are giving out $5000 taxpayer-funded handouts to foreign investors.

Mr Robertson said the O’Farrell Government had hurt young families trying to enter the property market by:

1.    Axing grants and stamp duty exemptions that were previously available to all first home buyers under Labor  – and restricting to purchase of new homes only.

2.    Offering a $5000 grant to property investors including foreign companies and nationals to purchase new homes worth up to $650,000.

“It’s official – Barry O’Farrell’s policies are giving up a leg up to foreign investors and locking young first home buyers out of the market,” Mr Robertson said.

“Think of all the young couples driving around to Saturday viewings and desperately saving for that first deposit – only to find that the O’Farrell Liberal Government has withdrawn their assistance while splashing $5000 at overseas investors and people going for their second, third or tenth property.

“The number of first home buyers in NSW is less than half what it was two years ago – and the lowest since records started 22 years ago.

“It is an outrageous misuse of taxpayer funds for the Government to pay $5000 to overseas investors at the same time it has axed assistance to first home buyers – sending their numbers into freefall.

“We need to see Barry O’Farrell close this $5000 incentive for overseas investors immediately – because young couples doing the hard yards in NSW are being crowded out of their own property market.”

Shadow Treasurer Michael Daley said: “Today’s data is proof positive that the Government’s policies have failed and its priorities are completely wrong.”

“We have a Treasurer who has betrayed young couples while turning into a pin-up boy for foreign investors.”

The ABS data also shows that Sydney house prices rose 13.8 over the past year and 4.9 per cent in the December quarter alone. This is the third consecutive quarter for which Sydney house prices grew at the fastest rate across any capital city nationwide.

NUMBER OF FIRST HOME BUYERS IN NSW BY YEAR, according to Australian Bureau of Sttistics Housing Data Table 9, as follows:

2013 – 13023 ; 2012 – 22350  ; 2011 – 30422 ; 2010 – 27251 ; 2009 – 58909

2008 – 36482 ; 2007 – 38630 ; 2006 – 37094 ; 2005 – 30778 ; 2004 – 24490

2003 – 26695 ; 2002 – 34379 ; 2001 – 45064  ; 2000 – 31714 ; 1999 – 32221

1998 – 27928 [ 1997 – 30530 ; 1996 – 30040 ; 1995 – 27814 ‘ 1994 – 33023

1993 – 27482  ; 1992 – 20709